6 ways to prep your internet for a stress-free (ish) holiday season

Home Broadband

6 ways to prep your internet for a stress-free (ish) holiday season

The holiday season is pretty stressful at the best of times. The kids are home from school and probably need entertainment, you’re constantly in plan-mode, traffic to get anywhere to do literally anything is a nightmare, and don’t even start with the shopping! It’s... a LOT. So the last thing you want to have to worry about is your internet.

Never fear, we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re staying in, hosting the fam, visiting the in-laws or travelling somewhere cool, here are 6 ways you can get your internet ready for this holiday season.

Staying in?

Whether you’re having guests over for the holidays or you’re staying home to relax and watch the cricket, your internet connection will likely feel the extra strain. These handy tips will make sure your home broadband is ready.

Set up guest Wi-Fi

With people traipsing through your house -- whether planned or the unexpected pop-in -- they’re probably going to want to get on your Wi-Fi. That means doling out the password to people who may or may not appreciate your internet security and privacy.

On many Wi-Fi routers (including the eero), you can easily set up a guest network that gives you the power to invite and uninvite whoever you like. Oh, the power.

For many routers, setting up a guest network is easy. In the eero router, it’s as simple as going to your eero app and toggling the Guest Network on and it will auto generate a password for you. You can then share the password with whoever you want via email or text or even by QR code.  

As easily as the Wi-Fi is given, it can also just as easily be taken away. When uninvited (and sometimes invited) guests overstay their welcome or maybe the in-laws have spent a few too many days in your house, you can simply eject them from your network by turning the guest network off. Oh no, the Wi-Fi is broken, now, go home!    

Upgrade your internet speeds

The struggle is real.

With the kids home from school and almost definitely spending more time online, your internet is gonna feel it. Plus, if you’re entertaining guests or you have family coming to visit for a longer stint, the pressure on your home network will certainly result in pressure on you to fix it!

If you’re a Superloop customer, you can quickly and easily upgrade your internet speeds to meet the extra demand in your house. You can do this once per bill cycle. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Login to your Members Area
  2. Go to My Account and “change plan”. Here you’ll see a list of plans available to you for your NBN connection type.
  3. Choose the speed you’d like to upgrade to and wait a few minutes for the magic to happen
  4. After a few minutes, restart your modem and/or router, and you should be ready to roll! (If you see no change after a few minutes, try again in an hour and you should be good.)

Obviously, if you’re not on a Superloop plan yet, there’s no time like the present (see, Christmas pun thrown in there and everything!) to check out our sweet holiday deals.

Get mesh-y

If you’ve got visitors coming to stay or the kids have friends over or even if you’re entertaining in the backyard or by the pool, your internet won’t just need to be able to handle the extra strain of having more people on the network, it’ll need to cover more physical space too.

You’ve got a few different options here, but my personal favourite is setting up a mesh network for your home. We talked a bit about mesh networks in a previous blog, so I won’t go into detail here, but it basically works as a way to expand your Wi-Fi coverage around your house without putting the strain on your Wi-Fi signal the way extenders frequently do.  

(Read about how mesh networks keep your family connected and keep you in the power seat)

Taking this route means you’ll need to make sure your router has the ability to be meshed, and again, the eero is a great option for this. It’s basically what it’s designed to do. Maybe think of it as an early Christmas present to the family so you all can enjoy the internet from every corner of your home. Though maybe keep the bit about being able to easily turn off access to users on the network to yourself. No one needs to know your secrets.

(More tips about how to get the most out of your Wi-Fi)

Going away?

Can't blame you for wanting to escape once borders properly reopen!

With borders looking like they’re all finally reopening both for domestic and international travel, and with much of the country having suffered through long painful lockdowns for chunks of this year, we don’t blame you if you want to get the hell out of dodge for a while. New scenery beyond your little enclave probably sounds pretty appealing right about now! Get prepped for time away from the home internet with these handy tips.  

Download all the things!

Wherever you’re going, there’s likely going to be a fair chunk of time stuck on some mode of transport. For kids (and adults) the long haul trip getting somewhere is a drag, so you’ll need to make sure you’re well stocked on the entertainment to get you all through it.

If you have a Netflix account, many of their TV shows and movies are available to download onto your devices so you can play them offline. Already binged through everything during lockdown? Here are a few of our suggestions that you might’ve missed (uhhh, spending a long road trip with Song Joong-ki and Taecyeon? Yes please!).

Should you need some sick tunes for your trip, we’ve made some cool Spotify playlists you might want to check out too. As with Netflix, you can download playlists so they’re accessible on your device offline.

Of course, there’s also a mountain of games you can download too. Here are a few suggestions for Switch games for when you’re travelling and games for your phone that the whole family can enjoy on a long road trip.

How long does it take to download stuff? Here’s a basic guide with estimates showing some examples. Actual times will vary based on other factors including time of day, NBN connection type, equipment, and other things.

* Based on a leaked image of the Microsoft Store
I used this calculator to get these numbers. These figures are general estimates.

Make sure you don’t leave all the downloading to the last minute (like I always do!), fight the temptation to watch the shows or play the games you’re planning to have for your trip, and pack extra back-up battery packs for all your devices for the road.

Unplug the router

If you’re going away, it’s probably a good idea to unplug your router before you go.

For a start, no one can hack you if your internet’s not on. Obvious, yea, but it works.

You may see a minuscule saving on your electricity bill too, though the power usage of most modern routers is fairly negligible. But still, a saving is a saving, and if you’re not using it, why pay for it to be running, right?

Another reason you might want to unplug the Wi-Fi router before heading off on holidays is overheating. If you’re using an older router, it may pose some risk of overheating and either conking out entirely or catching on fire. This is often as a result of blocked or obstructed air vents and is more problematic when you have an older router. Your router randomly bursting into flames is really not likely, but overheating can cause either Wi-Fi performance issues (i.e. slow internet to your devices) or damage to the router itself.    

(Not sure if you need a new router? Here’s 7 signs to look out for - #1: it’s on fire)

All that said, it may not be a good idea to unplug your router before going on holidays if you have a lot of other household appliances or devices (like your fridge or home security system) connected to the internet. Similarly, if you have smart lighting that’s dependent on a Wi-Fi connection, then keep your router plugged in.
If you decide to leave the router plugged in, at least make sure you give it a bit of a clean before you go on holidays and make sure the vents are clear.

Smart devices for home security

All that said, keeping your router on and plugged in while you’re away may be a good idea so you can take advantage of some cool smart devices to help secure your home while you’re away.

Home security systems have become far more accessible than they once were. Now you can buy fairly straightforward kits that you can install yourself (if you’re a bit handy) or that won’t cost much to get someone else to do it.

The great thing with the many products available on the market today is that you can mix and match whatever you want to install for your home protection.

You might just want a video doorbell like the Ring, Eufy, or Arlo. These are motion activated so you can see who’s at your door, get notifications, and hear and speak to whoever’s there. You could then pair this with a smart lock so if you need to let someone in, like a pet sitter or handyman or whoever really, you can still open the door remotely.

You can get a more comprehensive home security system with outdoor security cameras and floodlights that similarly send you notifications when they’re triggered, and/or indoor security that’s motion activated and let you yell at your dog to get him off the couch from wherever you are in the world.

You can also use an integrated home security that connects and manages the different components of your smart devices like the Google Nest or Apple HomeKit. These can help you keep track of and control security systems, automated lighting, smart locks, and even Wi-Fi smoke detectors.

Lastly, you may also want to check your surge protectors too. These generally have a lifespan of around three to five years and older surge protectors may not adequately protect your devices. So, if you do nothing else before you go away, make sure to replace your old surge protectors.

We all deserve a break these holidays

It’s been… a year. For many states, you’ve struggled through a year of lengthy lockdowns, economic uncertainty, and challenging problems from almost every front. But, we made it! As Australia vaccine’s up, we’ve earned our right to party down this holiday season. So, get out there and enjoy the break. You’ve earned it.